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County Youth Bring Home National Championship

Submitted by Michelle Kowalewski

Members of the Susquehanna County Jr. Holstein Club represented Pennsylvania in Salt Lake City, Utah on Wednesday and Thursday, June 26th and 27th at the National Holstein Convention's Junior Dairy Bowl Competition. The team earned the right to compete in the national competition after winning first place at the PA Jr. Holstein Convention which was held in February. Since February they have been diligently studying to prepare for the national level of competition. The team, led by captain Ian Brichele, Susquehanna and his teammates, Aiden Empet, Kinglsey; Madison Soden, Susquehanna; and Selah Lewis, Montrose came out on top against fifteen other states at the National competition. Dr. Mike Kowalewski traveled with the team to Salt Lake City as their coach. The Susquehanna County Jr. Holstein Club's dairy bowl teams are also supported and coached by Michelle Kowalewski, Heidi Stephens-Pavelski and Emily Supancik.

Dairy Quiz Bowl is a four-person team event that encourages youth to increase their dairy knowledge through study and preparation. Youth learn life skills as they prepare for the contest including critical thinking, listening skills, decision making, problem solving, communication as well as knowledge about the dairy industry. The Junior Division is made up of youth ages 9-15. The Senior Division is for youth ages 16-21. This year Pennsylvania's senior team hailed from Lancaster County. They also won first place at the National Convention, making this the fifth year Pennsylvania has brought home both titles!

Other Susquehanna County youth contest winners from the PA Holstein Convention also entered several national contests. Aiden Empet, Chelsea Empet, and Alex Empet all placed 1st with their Tri-Fold Displays and Charley Quick placed 3rd with her Tri-Fold Display.

While in Salt Lake the dairy bowl team members and their families had the opportunity to tour dairy farms, float in the Great Salt Lake, and visit Antelope Island State Park.

The Susquehanna County Jr. Holstein Club is a youth organization for Holstein dairy enthusiasts ages 9-21. The Club will hold its annual golf tournament fundraiser at Tall Pines Players Club on Sunday, July 21st. For more information about the tournament please contact Tall Pines Players Club.

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"Normal" Returning To Starrucca Council

By Ted Brewster

Governments at all levels struggle with the competition for scarce resources among the demands of constituents for services. Small rural municipalities like Starrucca also have to deal with apathy, and with the sometimes intimate relationships between neighbors among the few who remain engaged. When disagreement arises, it's most helpful to put aside rancor and discord. And that's what the Starrucca Borough Council has been doing for the past several months, putting the turbulence of personal invective and hostility behind, and getting down to business. In other words, it has become more "normal."

Just since the beginning of the year, Council has had the decrepit old Town Hall removed, and settled a difficult dispute over its purchase of the Baptist church, leaving much turmoil behind and free to move forward. At the July meeting on the 1st, Council began to consider a few more far-reaching initiatives, while still spending time on some of the more mundane business of the Borough. Like finance.

Borough Secretary/Treasurer Gretchen Galiardo puts together a clear and detailed report on the current state of the Borough's finances. Those are divided into six accounts: the general fund is replenished primarily from property taxes; the fire fund diverts a portion of property taxes to the local fire company for its support; the liquid fuels fund comes from the state for road maintenance; the UCC fund covers building permits and is funded from fees; a "grant fund" comes from grants awarded for special purposes or projects; and the "SBC" fund covers the mortgage and litigation over the Baptist church property. All together, the report shows balances totaling just over $100,000 as of the first of the month. Council is awaiting a complete audit covering prior years.

A fair chunk of money not yet in hand will be used for repairs to that part of Coxton Lake Road lying within the Borough. Council accepted the low bid of $77,000 from Bill Pikus Excavating for that project, which will be paid out of a grant of $79,800 designated specifically for that purpose.

The actual net amount the Borough will receive from settlement of the Baptist church dispute will be determined by next month, but should be in the neighborhood of $40,000 exclusive of legal and filing fees. Current Council Vice President Ray Woods II proposed a resolution that would sequester the money in a special account called a Capital Reserve Fund to be used for "capital improvement projects," as well as for matching funds for future grants – all for "the benefit of all of the community of Starrucca Borough." Use of these funds for "non-capital projects" would require a "super majority vote" of Council (i.e., 5 votes, or a majority plus one). Council President Jack Downton opposed the measure, fearing that the extra vote might make the funds unavailable in some circumstances. With two members absent, the measure passed by a vote of 3-1. Council deferred a decision on the transfer of funds to the new account until the final amount available from the church settlement is available.

Mr. Woods, reporting from the "Grants Committee," described a survey they will use to solicit opinion of Borough residents. The survey is available from the Borough's Facebook page at "Starrucca Borough Council." There are only two questions. The first asks you to select, in order, among a list of possible areas that Council might work on, for example: a community building, parks, blight, recycling, etc., and, how willing you are to participate in the grant application and implementation process. Paper versions of the survey may be available from the Borough Secretary for those who don't use Facebook.

Council also had some of its own business to consider. When Kristen Potter relinquished her seat on Council last December, there wasn't anyone waiting in the wings to replace her. Steve Williams has now come forward, but, since 45 days have already elapsed, the court in Honesdale is awaiting a petition to award Mr. Williams the seat.

And finally, at the very end of the meeting, Jack Downton, who has served his community for a long time, and through considerable turmoil, resigned his position as Council President, although he will remain a member of Council. Council then voted to promote Ray Woods II to the chair. Ted Batzel will become the new Vice President.

Mr. Woods said that the board is "showing that Council is acting differently." Normal, that is.

The Starrucca Borough Council meets on the first Monday of the month beginning at 6:00pm in its offices in the remodeled barn at the back of 316 Starrucca Creek Road.

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